What the hell’s wrong with stoicism?

Posted: 8th February 2010 by Get No Happy in Angry Rants, News of the day, Politics
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There was a little segment on “The Daily Politics” about emotion in politics (Weeping at the dispatch box and the like), more on this in a moment, but what struck me was the introduction “We still have a very Victorian view of public displays of emotion“. Excuse me? Why is that such a bad thing? There’s nothing wrong with controlling ones emotions in public. I’m not saying no one should, Vulcan like, ever express emotion; “Mommy, Daddy’s been cleaning the shotgun in the barn an awfully long time” sorta thing, but there’s a time and a place. There’s something to be said for quiet dignity*, for not breaking down in the office because you’ve been fired or broken up with your partner or because the vending machine was out of m&ms. Collapse into the arms of friends at home, but walk out with your head held high.

We definitely place far too much emphasis on public displays of unhappiness. Maybe it’s laziness (or possibly mild Autism)? We can assume that the lack of hysterical laughter and mumblings about the Angel of Death means someone is fine. We don’t have to ask or guess. The McCanns were, as were the royals when a certain princess died, widely (in the gutter press) criticised for not showing enough grief; Am I the only one that finds something ghoulish in this apparent unwritten social commandment “rend thy garments in twain” to those in distress whenever a camera lens falls upon them. I suppose it’s back to the emotion porn many in Britain today slurp down as if it were magic fudge yet now, instead of just enjoying it, they demand it. A bit like going from occasional pot smoking to kidnapping orphan children to work in your cannabis factory.

Back to the politician side of things, I’m pretty sure any shed tears taste of cynicism and arsenic and are chemically far similar to the blood of xenomorhs than the tears of other humans. I still remember Cherrie Blair getting out of the home/loan affair by blubbing on camera (as an aside, so much for feminism; a female cries so we all forgive her… I wonder if that would work should one be on trial in the Hague for war crimes). As I’ve said before, I want my politicians to be stern, cold, logical individuals who see the big picture, not soft, cuddly cretins who spend two hours each day sobbing over the various injustices in the morning papers. This also includes inane photo opportunities in daycare centres and donkey sanctuaries, but that’s a topic for closer to the election I think…

Oh and be prepared for a response to the statement “Many thousands of students could ‘miss out’ on a University place this year” once I finish seizing.

*Of course this has a certain relative element: Should you see the plane carrying your family crash into your uninsured house, I wouldn’t begrudge someone a tear or two in the Airport viewing lounge. I’m really not trying to sound uncaring. I just think sorrow is something that should be between friends and family, a private matter (What are friends for and such), not something to be wailed about on a bus or wielded as a political or PR sabre.